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On June 5, 2020, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed HB 2096 into law. The Bill amends the Illinois Local Library Act and the Public Library District Act, creating the “Cards for Kids Act.”  75 ILCS 16/30-55.60.

The amendment adds to the group of non-residents entitled to library cards without paying a library fee.  Non-resident students, whose household incomes fall at or below the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Income Eligibility Guidelines, cannot be charged fees for non-resident library cards. 

Library boards still retain their authority to regulate the terms and conditions of their non-resident card program, but can no longer charge a fee to non-resident students who fall at or below the USDA guidelines.

These guidelines are the same as those used to determine student eligibility for school lunch programs and can be found at www.fns.usda.gov/cn/income-eligibility-guidelines.

Proof of eligibility for this program is a matter for individual libraries to decide, but we note that students eligible for school lunch programs usually have proof of their eligibility. This is one possible method of confirming a student is eligible for a card.  Libraries may also consider asking to see a student ID and requiring the student to fill out an eligibility form, or providing other income documentation, as they see fit.

It remains to be seen how many students will take advantage of this program, and how it may impact individual libraries.  Please contact your Tressler attorney if you have any questions regarding this new program. 

For more information about this article, contact Tressler attorney Peter Murphy at pmurphy@tresslerllp.com.